Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer David R. Goldfield will address the political and social discord facing the nation today in comparison with other similar periods of great division during a free virtual Perspectives in History event for the Old State House Museum at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12.
In addition to teaching at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte as the Robert Lee Bailey Professor of History, Goldfield has authored 16 books. Two of these works – “Black, White, and Southern: Race Relations and Southern Culture” and “Cotton Fields and Skyscrapers” – were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
Goldfield will share his expertise in a presentation titled, “American Politics in the Age of Polarization: A Historical Perspective” and participate in a question-and-answer period.
“That we are a deeply divided people, politically speaking, is hardly news. Nor is it something new,” he said. “Throughout American history, serious fissures in our society often manifested themselves in politics, particularly in presidential elections, and, on one occasion – the 1860 presidential contest – the result precipitated a civil war. What can we learn from these divisive contests so that we can heal our fractured nation and avoid the consequences of continued mutual alienation?”
James L. “Skip” Rutherford, dean of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, will be the moderator during the event. Rutherford served as a key advisor during Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and as an administrative assistant to U.S. Sen.David Pryor.
Later, he received numerous accolades, including being named Arkansan of the Year by both the Arkansas Times and the Arkansas Broadcasters Association, for his work supervising the planning and construction of Clinton Presidential Center and Park.
“Dr. Goldfield’s presentation is exceptionally relevant and timely, and we are looking forward to having Skip Rutherford as the moderator,” said Rae Ann Fields, development director at the Old State House Museum and liaison to Arkansas State House Society (ASHS), the presenting sponsor. “This is an invitation for all Arkansans to step back with us to appreciate and enjoy a historical perspective. If you love politics but you need election detox this may be the ticket.”
ASHS, a nonprofit group that works to support and promote the Old State House, is hosting the presentation via Zoom. Although the event is free, the group will be accepting donations for the museum. Attendees can register for the presentation and/or donate to the museum at http://arkansasstatehousesociety-971033.square.site/ .
“Arkansas State House Society is pleased to bring Dr. Goldfield to Old State House Museum’s patrons to put a historical perspective on our current political environment through the lens of the past,” said Hunter Sadler, ASHS president. “Our young professionals appreciate history and are excited to see such a thoughtful presentation and even more delighted that we get to share it with everyone else.”